Baylor Campus Ministry Leader Charged with Sexual Abuse of Two Boys

By Josh Shepherd

Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual activity.

The longtime campus pastor of a Christian college ministry at Baylor University has been arrested and charged with sexual abuse of two boys. The crimes allegedly involved convicted sex offender Daniel Savala, who’s at the center of a widening sex scandal involving Chi Alpha Campus Ministries

On Tuesday, authorities in Waco, Texas, arrested Christopher “Chris” Hundl, 38, the campus pastor of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at Baylor University. Hundl was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a young child, a first-degree felony in Texas. He bonded out of McLennan County Jail on Wednesday, paying $50,000. 

According to the arrest affidavit, a victim said in a forensic interview that Hundl drove the boys to Savala’s residence in Houston where Savala, 67, “masturbated both children” in his home sauna multiple times. The victim also reportedly stated that Savala and Hundl directed the two boys to masturbate in saunas at both men’s homes, while the men watched and got erections.

The victim said Savala and Hundl told the children not to tell anyone about what happened, according to the affidavit. The crimes reportedly happened between the summer of 2021 and March 2022. 

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Hundl said Savala was a “spiritual mentor” for him since college, the affidavit states. It adds that Hundl told a detective that Savala would masturbate him, and Hundl would masturbate Savala because Savala, a registered sex offender, “described this as a spiritual activity.”

In Texas, continuous sexual abuse of a child carries a penalty of 25 years to life in prison without parole.

Since 2019, Hundl had served as the director of Baylor’s chapter of Chi Alpha, the national college ministry of the Assemblies of God (AoG) denomination. Recently, a sex scandal has come to light involving several Chi Alpha chapters at multiple Texas universities. According to a statement provided by a university spokesperson to The Roys Report (TRR), Baylor “proactively suspended all campus Chi Alpha operations in early May.” 

baylor university
Baylor University in Waco, Texas. (Photo via social media)

Recently, a group of whistleblowers has alleged that, for decades, Texas leaders of several Chi Alpha chapters have allowed Savala to attend on-campus meetings and that leaders referred students to Savala for spiritual guidance. Allegedly, Savala preyed on students, raping or sexually assaulting at least 13 men, which often occurred at Savala’s in-home sauna.

Leaders of Baylor University told TRR that they “are deeply disturbed and grieved by these serious allegations against Chi Alpha’s leaders.” The statement added that Chi Alpha is an independent group whose ministers are not employees of Baylor.

According to multiple sources, Hundl and his wife, Hosanna, resigned as campus pastors of Baylor’s Chi Alpha chapter on May 3 at the Christian club’s final worship service of the semester.

Weeks prior, on April 17, a law firm representing Savala’s alleged victims sent a demand letter to several universities. The letter documented allegations against Savala, whom Baylor University Spiritual Life leaders knew as a mentor to Chris Hundl.

Hundl was also lead pastor of Mountain Valley Fellowship in Waco, an AoG-affiliated church planted in 2021 from a College Station church by the same name. The Waco church’s website had been taken down as of Thursday. 

In a statement to TRR, the North Texas District Council of the Assemblies of God said it directed Hundl to step down as part of its investigation into allegations involving Savala. The council said it also “expediently alerted” Child Protective Services and “permanently removed” Hundl as XA (Chi Alpha) director and pastor of Mountain Valley Waco. The council said it has also recommended that the denomination’s General Council Credentials Committee dismiss Hundl, “which is in process.”

As of Wednesday, Hundl and his wife were still listed as AoG-ordained domestic missionaries, but the page has since been removed. 

Hundl influenced by Chi Alpha mentors, culture

On the archived website of Baylor’s Chi Alpha chapter, the bio of Chris Hundl states that he has been in college ministry since 2010. A graduate of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Hundl served on staff at that school’s Chi Alpha chapter for nine years. 

According to multiple sources, Hundl was among several men who regarded Savala as a mentor and spiritual leader. 

Among those leaders close to Savala is former Chi Alpha North Texas District Director Eli Stewart, who was dismissed from his College Station church this past weekend. Another church elder there, Jonathan Bryce, is on leave and under investigation. And another key figure is Chi Alpha South Texas Director Eli Gautreaux, who was suspended from that position as of May 12, according to an email from an AoG executive posted online.

A former Chi Alpha staff member stated that during his tenure at Chi Alpha Corpus Christi, Hundl joined chapter director Will Robinson, Stewart, Bryce and Savala for weekend retreats “once every month or every other month.” These were reportedly sometimes at Savala’s residence or in remote locations.

chris hundl
On October 20, 2016, Chris Hundl speaks at Chi Alpha chapter of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (Screengrab)

Last July, Robinson was arrested in Corpus Christi and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child—the same felony charge that Hundl is now facing. Robinson has pleaded not guilty, and his case is awaiting trial. 

In 2019, Hundl and his family moved to Waco to launch Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at Baylor. In an October article in the Baylor Lariat, announcing the launch of the campus ministry, Chris Hundl said, “God has opened doors for us to be here; it’s incredible.” 

Hundl and his wife, Hosanna, were recognized in September 2020 as ordained AoG ministers.

A father of six children, Chris Hundl often supplemented his missions support from AoG churches with construction projects, such as building pallet walls.

chris hundl
Chris Hundl (Photo via social media)

About a year after their move, Hundl built a sauna at his family’s Waco residence, according to a source. Multiple sources noted that small groups of Chi Alpha students often spent time with Hundl at his in-home sauna, wearing only towels or in the nude. 

A recent Christianity Today report on the Savala sex scandal involving at least seven Texas universities noted that some Chi Alpha chapters had “an unofficial mantra that ‘nudity brings unity.’”

Chi Alpha remains barred from Baylor, and multiple sources stated they do not believe the Christian fellowship group will be allowed to return in the fall.

“We will continue to examine Baylor’s affiliated student organizations to ensure our students have a healthy and safe co-curricular environment,” concluded the statement from Baylor University leadership. 

The national AoG office also provided a statement to TRR regarding the alleged crimes of Hundl. Assemblies of God Communications Director Mark Forrester said the denomination “stands in strong opposition to the actions described in the police report.” 

He added: “Children are a heritage from God and (AoG) processes mandate that sexual misconduct with minors will result in dismissal with no opportunity for reinstatement. We grieve today with those affected by the reported actions and pray for healing.” 

According to a report by KWTX, the investigation by Waco Police Department is ongoing and a hearing date has not yet been set for Hundl’s case. 

Correction: Details regarding a letter sent on April 17 have been accurately restated. The participants in a regular retreat of Chi Alpha Corpus Christi leadership have been revised for accuracy.

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his family live in the Washington, D.C. area.

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17 thoughts on “Baylor Campus Ministry Leader Charged with Sexual Abuse of Two Boys”

  1. I guess the Assembly of God denomination doesn’t do background checks on its pastors. It should. My kids’ Christian school does that for all teachers routinely.
    So should the colleges. Youth and campus pastor are two jobs that attract perverts. This is going to be expensive for a bunch of Texas colleges, it looks like, and their reputations will deservedly be hurt.

    1. Background checks would not have stopped anyone in this article other than Savala, and all of these articles note that Savala’s abuse was well known, and probably why he wasn’t employed by AoG in any formal sense. Background checks are completely inadequate until someone is caught, prosecuted and convicted. Sexual abuse in churches and faith organizations often goes unreported and protected by leadership to protect institutions. If your kids’ christian school hasn’t had a sex abuse scandal yet, it’s most likely that it just hasn’t come out yet. Christian orgs are breeding grounds for child predators because orgs protect their leaders and their institutions, and provide lots of trust for groomers.

    2. While people lose their minds over what drag queens are NOT doing, these people, literally for decades, have been molesting children on a daily basis.

      Maybe the answer is to not worry about our AR-15s being pried from our cold dead fingers or our kids seeing men in makeup, but to not allow a man or men to take our kids to other locations and molest them?

  2. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us,
    what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” – 1Peter 4:17

  3. Cynthia Wright

    It is as if this organization were a cabal of homosexual predators, including ephebophiles and possibly pedophiles (the age of the children in this article not being mentioned), all facilitating and covering for one another across multiple sites and congregations.

  4. Kathy Heisleman

    It is most concerning that Hundl has children of his own. How old are his children? Does he have any boys? Where is his wife in all of this? This living situation and especially the fact that he recently had a sauna built at his own home—closed doors—it’s not a hot tub—it a big red flag in my opinion. These are not accusations, these are concerns. Just worries that the situation seems suspicious enough to warrant investigation based on the history of this group of men.

  5. Kathy Heisleman

    Cynthia- the article you referenced says that the “other man “ acted as a grandfather to the 2 boys but not sure he actually was the grandfather?

    1. Cynthia Wright

      The “other man” is Mr. Savala, who is not a relative but Mr. Hundl’s “spiritual mentor.” The article also mentioned that one of the boys was 11, so “pederasty” is the technical description of what was going on.

      Systems of this sort, with boys/young men providing sexual gratification for dominant, older men who could facilitate career access or social advancement, were commonplace in ancient Greece and Rome. It’s interesting to see the pattern in this context.

    2. Tricia Russell

      Kathy, from what I gather, Christopher Hundl claims Daniel Savala as “grandfather” figure. He said he was Christopher’s “spiritual” mentor. Christopher then brings his own boys to Daniel Savala and takes part in the continual abuse of his own sons.
      This is just beyond my ability to think straight. How in the world does a father do this to his sons? This “campus minister” had a sauna at his home. Seems to be a pattern and so many of these accounts. What else was going on with other young men?
      What did his wife/boys mother know? I’m only guessing she knew nothing, and this will destroy her along with her two sons and the rest of the family. I pray for God’s healing for the innocent and justice for the predators. And then I rest on God’s perfect justice for what can’t be accomplished on earth.

      1. Kathy Heisleman

        Sorry, my question above wasn’t clear. I was actually wondering if it is clear if the two boys referenced were his own sons.

      2. Daniel Vissani

        “How in the world does a father do this to his sons?” I can understand the question, but it belies a poor understanding of human depravity. You, I, and everyone reading this is quite capable of atrocities beyond imagination. We all have it in us. It is the grace of God that we can see evil for what it is and avoid it. This man, and so many like him, was sadly deceived (probably slowly) into calling evil good (even necessary) and believe that his personal happiness took precedence over the souls of those boys. Of course, he is absolutely responsible for his actions and absolutely deserves the full punishment under the law. But he is not a different species of human. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

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